Five Famous Female Environmentalists in celebration of World Women’s Day

  • Mary Anning (1799 – 1847) was an English fossil collector and paleontologist. When geologist Henry De la Beche painted Duria Antiquior, the first widely circulated pictorial representation of a scene from prehistoric life derived from fossil reconstructions, he based it largely on fossils Anning had found, and sold prints of it for her benefit.

    Trivia: her story was the inspiration for the 1908 tongue-twister “She sells seashells on the seashore” by Terry Sullivan.

  • Octavia Hill (1838 – 1912) was a social reformer whose main concern was the welfare of city dwellers in the late 19th-century, especially London.

    Among Hill’s concerns was that her tenants, and all urban workers, should have access to open spaces. She believed in “the life-enhancing virtues of pure earth, clean air and blue sky.”

    She is also remembered for campaigning to conserve suburban woodlands such as Hampstead Heath.

    She was one of the three founders of the National Trust, set up to preserve places of historic interest or natural beauty for the enjoyment of the British public.

  • Joy Adamson (1910 – 1980) was a naturalist, artist and author. She is best known for her conservation efforts associated with Elsa the Lioness, whom Joy & her husband raised after Elsa was orphaned at just a few weeks of age. Elsa became the first lioness to be successfully released back into the wild.

    Joy documented her experience with Elsa in a memoir published under the title ‘Born Free’ this was later adapted for cinematic release in 1966.

  • Berta Cáceres (1971 – 2016) was a Honduran environmental activist. She won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, for “a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam” at the Río Gualcarque.

    In 2016, she was assassinated in her home by armed intruders, after years of threats against her life. Twelve environmental activists were killed in Honduras in 2014, according to research by Global Witness, which makes it the most dangerous country in the world, relative to its size, for activists protecting forests and rivers.

  • Naomi Klein (1970 – present) is a Canadian writer and filmmaker. Since 2009, Klein’s attention has turned to environmentalism, with particular focus on climate change.

    Her 2014 book, ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate’ was a New York Times non-fiction bestseller. In 2016 Klein was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize for her activism on climate justice.

About the Author

David Hayden

David is a contributor to the Green News. He has a Bachelor's Degree in International Business and French from UCD as well as a Master's Degrees in French literature and New Media from the University of California at San Diego and the Johns Hopkins University.